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Bishop, J. Leander (John Leander), 1820-1868 / A history of American manufactures from 1608 to 1860 : exhibiting the origin and growth of the principal mechanic arts and manufactures, from the earliest colonial period to the adoption of the Constitution : and comprising annals of the industry of the United States in machinery, manufactures and useful arts, with a notice of the important inventions, tariffs, and the results of each decennial census
Volume 3 (1868)

Manufactures of Taunton,   pp. 319-331

Page 322

cotton goods to represent those of British manufacture as "Ameri-
canas," because from the recognized superiority of American cottons
they can obtain higher prices for inferior fabrics by giving them the
American name.    If unrestrained by hostile legislation, American
manufacturers could monopolize the markets of the world in the sale
of the lower grades of cotton goods, and for this advantage they are
indebted not alone to the comparative cheapness of cotton, but to the
superior machinery that has been placed at their command by American
In 1852, Mr. Mason made an addition to the Works previously
erected, for the purpose of undertaking the building of Locomotives;
and in 1853 he brought out his first Locomotive, which at once attracted
attention for its beauty, and remarkable symmetry of design. With
characteristic fertility of genius, he aimed to step aside from the beaten
track and originate a new model, combining especially beauty of ex-
ternal appearance with excellence of workmanship, and it has been said
of him that he brought nearly all the credit upon New England engines
that they are likely to retain, and he is probably the only New England
builder who has left his mark on the American Locomotive. In his
engines the dome was placed exactly over the joint of the equalizing
lever between the drivers ; the smoke-box cylinder and smoke-stacks
were placed in the same vertical line as the truck pintle, and the sand-
box was placed nearly midway between. The chimney, which although
comparatively light, has necessarily the appearance of great weight, was
thus brought directly over the truck, which supported its load with the
symmetry of a pedestal in architecture. Mason discarded all outward
incumbrances, such as frames and their accompanying diagonal braces-
resembling a ship's shrouds-thus leaving all the working parts in full
view, and a clear range from end to end and under the boiler. The
horizontal lines of his running board, hand rail, feed pipe, etc., heighten
the symmetry of the design, while the graceful forms and disposition
of the details give a finished expression to the whole sufficient to raise
it to the dignity of a work of genuine art.
A competent authority has remarked-"An examination of American
Locomotives affords abundant proof that beauty of design and accuracy
of proportion are almost always accompanied by excellence of work-
manship. In mechanism, elegant outlines and an agreeable disposition
of details are never the result of chance-while, at the same time, a
mere artist would be as incapable as a careless workman to produce
them. A truly beautiful Locomotive-for extraneous ornament and
skin-deep decoration do not constitute beauty-must be the work of
one who thoroughly understands its mechanism; and the machinist who

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